VSTO & .NET & Excel

May 23, 2011

Pro WPF in VB 2010 – Review

Filed under: .NET Books — Dennis M Wallentin @ 1:14 am

Title: Pro WPF in 2010 VB2010 – Windows Presentation Foundation in .NET 4

Authors: Matthew MacDonald



Target group: VB.NET Developers who needs to learn WPF.

Ranking: 9 (Out of 10)

First of all, I must tell You that Matthew MacDonald is one of my favourite authors and I rank him among the top three. I have been thinking of why I rank him so high. The major reason is that he writes in plain English which make it quite simple for me to understand. The second reason is that he writes in a good structural way which means that I rarely must switch back to any previously chapter to follow. Another aspect is that his books are always well written which I also appreciate.

Of course, my ranking of him has a high impact on my ranking of this book. I have been waiting a longer time to start with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). I took a look on WPF when it first hit the market but at that time I didn’t find it enough attractive to start with it. At that time we were also forced to write almost all code ourselves to get the solutions. WPF has evolved and today we can get more support with the Extensible Application Markup Language (XALM) and with the .NET Framework.

What is interesting is MacDonald own goal with the book; to produce the best book about WPF. The book itself is huge; it covers WPF on nearly 1100 pages. As a newbie to WPF I’m not the right person to judge whether he reach that goal or not. But for me the book should at least be one of the candidates for an award like that.

The book covers everything that is related to WPF. Of course, a great number of controls are discussed but also WPF application model and WPF command model are covered in an understandable way. Even WPF printing model is presented. We also find topics like Control Templates, Data binding, WPF controls for data handling and formatting bound data. I don’t have any particular interest in animation and drawing but these subjects are also well covered. MacDonald has also managed to put a chapter about using ClickOnce to deploy WPF solutions in the book.

The book is a typical desktop book in that we cannot manage to memorize the main part of all the knowledge it provides us with. Therefore it’s good to have it available on the desk when needed.

The overall best part with this book is that it’s deal with WPF in VB.NET. Yes, those of You who use C# can take a look at MacDonald’s book Pro WPF in C# 2010.

All code examples are available for download. I have used only a few of these examples but I had no issues at all to use the examples.

The truth is that I have difficulties to find anything negative about the book. We are provided with much knowledge about 2D and 3D drawing etc. but I had hoped that charts and how to create them were explicit covered. However, if You really want to dig deep about charts then You should get a copy of the book Practical WPF Charts and Graphics.

A book of this size becomes very heavy and it’s difficult to carry it around. My solution was to tear it apart and only carry with me a part of the book that I wanted to read. That’s not a very good solution so I suggest that You buy the eBook version, either alone or together with a printed copy of the book.

Will I switch from WinForm to WPF? I guess the future will give the answer to that question. But one of the corner stones in modern software development is to separate the code from the User Interface and since WPF support it the answer to that question should be obvious. 😉

Have You switched to WPF and what are Your experiences?

Kind regards,



  1. Hi Dennis,
    Glad to hear you found a good companion book in your journey to WPF – hope you enjoy it! From my experience, the learning curve with WPF in the beginning is a bit steep, but it’s really worth it, if only for the flexibility it provides. I don’t think I have working with WinForms in 2 years or so now, and I don’t regret it!

    Comment by Mathias — May 25, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    • Mathias,
      Yes, I finally got around WPF which has been on my To-Do list for a while. As for the steep learning curve I find myself in the curve. It’s time consuming but I do now believe it’s the right way.

      I still have lot of customs’ solutions with WinForm that needs to maintenance so I will still use it.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — May 25, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  2. I just bought this same book last week. Glad to here you liked it. I’m looking forward to more easily being able to manipulate controls and create custom controls. I’ll have to check the charting book too, if WPF in VB 2010 doesn’t tell me enough.

    Comment by Jon — May 25, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    • Jon,
      Good luck and I hope You will pleased with it in the same way as I did 🙂
      It should be noted that the WPF Chart book uses C# throughout the book.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — May 25, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

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